Welcome to the Year in Eater 2022 — an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Los Angeles’s restaurant scene. Today, LA’s finest food writers, editors, reporters, and a few select others with strong opinions share their best restaurant meals from 2022.
Farley Elliott, Senior Editor, Eater LA
Probably Hatchet Hall in Culver City, where the rustic quality is unmatched.
Oren Peleg, Freelance Writer
Ilé — really creative and personal dishes that are absolutely delicious.
Sharon Lee, Content Creator, @helloimsharon (TikTok)
Mirak for goat stew.
Matthew Kang, Lead Editor, Eater LA
In Los Angeles, I had a supremely good omakase at Kogane early in the year with my colleague Farley Elliott. The place deserves as much recognition as the top sushi places in town.
I also loved W Steakhouse in Koreatown, a kind of micro churrascaria from a Korean Brazilian family that just speaks to my upbringing and everything I love about Brazilian food.
Outside of LA, I’m so glad I finally got to go to Le Bernardin with one of my best friends. The both of us had been dreaming of going there for well over a decade, maybe longer, and it really delivered.
Baxter Holmes, Senior Writer, ESPN
Danielle Dorsey, Senior West Coast Editor, Thrillist
It’s a tie between the brilliant Hemings & Hercules dinner series that’s led by chef Martin Draluck and held at Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills, and Hansei, from chef Chris Ono at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. Both multi-course meals are a must for anyone with an interest in food origins and history—the first is a deep dive into the heritage of American food and the role of enslaved African Americans in pioneering some of our most beloved dishes, while the latter focuses squarely on LA’s Japanese food and culture, reminding guests how integral and influential it is within the city’s larger culinary scene.
Jenn Tanaka, Contributor, Eater LA
Dave Holmes, Editor-at-Large, Esquire
My first Irv’s Burger in the new place. Sonia remembered me and drew me a little picture on my paper plate, just like old times. And she was inside in the air conditioning, which made ME feel good.
Gary Baum, Senior Writer, The Hollywood Reporter
Cathy Chaplin, Senior Reporter/Editor, Eater LA
Locust in Nashville, Tennessee. Chef Trevor Moran’s menu of seafood-focused Asian-ish, Noma-ish cooking was equal parts delightful and delicious.
Alison Herman, Staff Writer, The Ringer
A milestone birthday at Kato. There’s nothing more disappointing than a tasting menu that isn’t worth the cost, and nothing more thrilling than a restaurant that lives up to its price point and hype. I still dream about the corn and caviar dish.
Bill Esparza, Contributor, Eater LA
My first dining experience at chef Carlos Gaytan’s Tzuco was delicious and memorable. I love the concept.
Hadley Tomicki, Deputy Editor, L.A. TACO
Dinner at Ricardo Zarate’s Causita a few weeks after it opened. It was buzzing with energy, the dishes and drinks were bracing and phenomenal, and most importantly, I was there and celebrating with the right person, my wife. I was also really smitten with chef Geter Atienza’s imaginative and jaw-droppingly beautiful takes on Filipino flavors during his stint at Abernethy’s in Downtown. I dream of the oxtail crepinette kare kare.
Josh Lurie, Founder, FoodGPS.com
My wife’s childhood friend, June, really knows how to celebrate. For her latest birthday gathering, we joined her family at Kato, which is even more of a destination in their new ROW DTLA digs. Jon Yao takes fine dining personally, and the results and references are fun and flavorful. He kept me on the edge of my seat from the wood-fired shima aji collar with fermented chile we enjoyed at the bar to the post-check take-home gift, a flaky po tat (Portuguese style egg tart).
Andy Wang, Contributor, Robb Report and Food & Wine
A birthday dinner at Anajak Thai Taco Tuesdays, with dry-aged fish tacos, tuna-and-uni tostadas, grilled prawns, fried chicken, tom yum and Justin Pichetrunsgi’s unparalleled laab tots. Pastry chef Heather Wong (who’s opening Flouring in Chinatown) brought a surprise birthday cake. Pastry chef Alison Osorio (who runs School of Quenelle) brought surprise ice cream. We had dessert in the middle of the dinner and at the end of the dinner. By the time we closed the place down, we had shared dessert with old friends, new friends, scenester celebrities, strangers, and the Anajak crew. (But I prefer to not share laab tots with anyone.) I would be very happy if this becomes a yearly tradition.
Jean Trinh, LA Editor, Eater
Kuya Lord did it for me. It’s a meal that I keep thinking about, in the ways that I know the flavors and execution of the dishes are forever engrained in my memory now. Comforting rice bowls with crackling pork belly enhanced by vinegar, the juiciest and largest blue prawns that I was using like scarpetta to sop up its accompanying garlic crab sauce, and the most amazing calamansi pie with a pandan whipped cream.
Christine Ko, Actress, Dave, Only Murders in the Building
Saffy’s!! Get the lobster skewer, lamb kebab, and red snapper tagine.
Alissa Walker, Senior Writer, Curbed
I love going out to dinner solo but I literally hadn’t done it for two years. On one of those misty early-spring nights, I ended up by myself at Eszett, where I drank some tasty wines, worked my way through a stack of bar snacks and rode a Metro Bike home. It was perfect.
Esther Tseng, Freelance Writer
Disfrutar in Barcelona. It was a mind-bending four-and-a-half hours of gastronomic discovery with incredible wine and spirit pairings. Beyond the magic show was a cohesive menu that held real substance, honoring the thoughts and emotions we think and feel as humans — really, more than we ought to be considering during any typical meal. But this meal was not typical; it was out of this world.
Mona Holmes, Reporter, Eater LA
The burger with cocktails at Au Cheval in Chicago. I still dream of this burger.
Lesley Suter, Special Projects Editor, Eater
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but one of the meals I just think about a lot came from Dunsmoor. From start to finish, it was just exceptional.
Meghan McCarron, Special Correspondent, Eater
I’m sorry to say it was in San Fransisco on assignment — San Ho Won. LA restaurants are exciting, but there’s a lot of messiness right now, so the meals are more fascinatingly uneven than truly great.
Nicole Adlman, Eater Cities Manager
I started the New Year at the Jolly Oyster truck in Ventura, where my partner and I ordered the entire menu (emphasis on entire), slurping down grilled, buttered, and smothered oysters in the cloudless blue light doming over San Buenaventura State Beach. The array of seafood delights in our spread would be plentiful enough for Neptune (think raw, chargrilled, and fried oysters, briny crudos, tostadas, and steamers); the beachside dining experience itself so pleasurable that I came back over the summer to fete my birthday with the same meal. Walking the beach with my dog afterward is now tradition.